According to Countryaah, Bennett County is located in southwestern South Dakota, in the Great Plains region of the United States. It is bordered by Todd County to the north, Tripp County to the east, Gregory County to the south, and Shannon County to the west. The county seat and largest city is Martin, which was named after a local Native American chief. The county was created in 1909 and has an area of 943 square miles.
The landscape of Bennett County is primarily flat with rolling hills and grasslands. The White River flows through parts of the county, as does its tributary Cedar Creek. Other bodies of water in Bennett County include Lake Oahe and Lake Francis Case which are both part of the Missouri River system.
The climate in Bennett County is generally semi-arid with hot summers and cold winters. Average annual precipitation ranges from 18-20 inches with snowfall averaging around 20 inches each year.
Bennett County has a population of around 4500 people according to 2019 estimates making it one of South Dakota’s least populous counties. Agriculture is a major industry here with farms producing corn, wheat, oats, soybeans, hay, sunflowers, dry beans and other crops as well as raising cattle for beef production. Other industries in Bennett County include manufacturing and tourism related businesses such as hunting lodges or campgrounds that attract visitors from across the region looking for outdoor recreation opportunities on land or on nearby lakes and rivers.
Demographics of Bennett County, South Dakota
Bennett County, South Dakota is a rural county of just 4,500 people according to the 2019 estimates. The population is predominantly white (87.7%), followed by Native American (9.3%), African American (1.2%) and Asian (0.8%). The median age is 37 years old with about 44% of the population being under 18 years old and 11% being over 65 years old.
Just under 50% of the people living in Bennett County are married while 35% have never been married and 15% are divorced or separated. About 70% of households are family households with an average household size of 3 people per household.
The median income for individuals in Bennett County is $36,000 while the median income for families is $44,000. About 16% of the population lives below the poverty line and 43% of those living in poverty are children under 18 years old.
The largest employer in Bennett County is the school district which employs about 300 people followed by agriculture, manufacturing, retail, health care and tourism related businesses such as hunting lodges or campgrounds that attract visitors from across the region looking for outdoor recreation opportunities on land or on nearby lakes and rivers.
Places of Interest in Bennett County, South Dakota
Bennett County, South Dakota is an ideal destination for outdoor recreation with a number of places of interest to explore. Located in the northern Black Hills, there are many scenic trails and roads to explore as well as several lakes and rivers for fishing, boating, and swimming.
The Bennett County Museum is a great place to learn about the area’s history and culture. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts from the area’s Native American tribes, early settlers, and pioneers as well as interactive displays that tell the story of the county’s past.
The Bennett County Fairgrounds are home to an annual county fair with rides, games, livestock shows, music performances and more. Other popular events at the fairgrounds include rodeos in summer and snowmobile races in winter.
The Bennett County Sportsman Club offers hunting opportunities for deer, elk, turkey, pheasant and more. The club also has a rifle range open to members for practice shooting or competitive matches throughout the year.
There are several parks located throughout Bennett County including Custer State Park which features 73 miles of hiking trails through rugged terrain as well as wildlife viewing opportunities such as bison herds roaming nearby prairies. There is also Pactola Lake Recreation Area which is a great spot for fishing or boating on its 1,500-acre lake surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.
For those looking for nightlife entertainment or shopping options there are several small towns in Bennett County such as Martin with its quaint downtown area full of unique shops and restaurants as well as larger cities like Rapid City just a short drive away.
Notable People of Bennett County, South Dakota
Bennett County, South Dakota has produced many notable people over the years. The area has a rich history and culture, with many influential figures from the past and present.
One of the most prominent figures to come out of Bennett County is former United States Senator Larry Pressler. A native of Martin, he served in the Senate from 1979-1997 and was known for his willingness to reach across party lines in order to get things done.
Nate Dogg is another notable figure from Bennett County. He was a rapper, singer, songwriter and actor who was an important part of the West Coast hip-hop scene in the 1990s and 2000s. He was born in Clarksburg and raised in Martin before finding fame as a member of Dr. Dre’s rap group 213 alongside Snoop Dogg and Warren G.
Actor Michael Jeter also hails from Bennett County. Born in Lawrence Township, he is best known for his roles on television series such as Evening Shade and The Fisher King as well as his roles on Broadway including Jerome Robbins’ Broadway for which he won a Tony Award in 1989.
The area also has a few professional athletes including NFL players Chris Kelsay who played defensive end for the Buffalo Bills, Chad Greenway who played linebacker for Minnesota Vikings, and Todd Sauerbrun who punted for several teams during his twelve-year career.
Bennett County has also produced several notable authors including Robert Bly whose works focus on mythology and archetypes, James Welch whose works explore Native American culture, and Tim Giago whose works focus on Native American rights issues.